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20-Year Secret Test: Trade Secret Protection as an Alternative to Patents

20-Year Secret Test: Trade Secret Protection as an Alternative to Patents
What resources do we have to protect innovation in the health sector? Discussing Trade Secret Protection as an Alternative to Patents
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What resources do we have to protect innovation in the health sector? We are very familiar with the patent system, but the EU Trade Secrets Directive of 2016 has unified and strengthened the protection of trade secrets, providing legal tools and remedies similar to other intellectual property rights. However, there are pros and cons, which is why CataloniaBio & HealthTech organized a webinar to make known the arguments for trade secret protection as an alternative to patents . The webinar is an initiative of the Internal Innovation Committee of CataloniaBio & HealthTech.

To analyze the possibilities and risks for healthcare companies, we counted on the expert voice of Tobias Steins, partner of Hoffmann Eitle , member of CataloniaBio & HealthTech. Steins is a specialist in patent litigation for over 15 years representing clients predominantly in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and electronics fields.

As Steins explained, the standard approach is the process of patenting knowledge, but it has some drawbacks. For example, those we already know are the high costs, the risk that it will not be granted, the maintenance, the limitation in time of the protection… The question of whether the trade secret can offer longer protection (test of keeping a secret for 20 years!) and more economical (you need to allocate a budget for logistical and administrative costs) does not have a binary answer. That’s why Steins reviewed the pros and cons and, above all, what are all the necessary steps to have the knowledge and value, since “commercial secrecy is not absolute, unlike patent protection, but it can have some advantages, or the system can be better adapted to the needs of each case”.

The session looked at the pros and cons of trade secret protection versus patent protection , such as enforcement and a company’s freedom to operate. The topic of the webinar was proposed by the Internal Innovation Committee, which has been resolved in an online format to make sharing knowledge more agile and accessible. In the future it is planned to repeat the experience with new topics arising from the proposal of the Committee or of the private partners, who were encouraged to send proposals.

 

Discover more about CataloniaBio & HealthTech:

CataloniaBio & HealthTech is the transversal association formed by more than 220 leading companies and knowledge agents in R&D and manufacturing in the health and life sciences sector in Catalonia. Its mission is to increase the competitiveness and size of companies by generating new products and services that improve people’s health through the promotion of innovation, entrepreneurship and networking, and to position Catalonia as one of the main health hubs in the world.

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